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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 10, 2006 2:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Review of January 29, 1967 GD Benefit

(continuing on from the Dead Misconceptions thread below. Wouldn't it be nice to find a "lost" 1967 GD tape?)

"Sunday, January 29, 1967 marked the major spiritual event of the San Francisco hippy era, and Srila Prabhupada, who was ready to go anywhere to spread Krsna Consciousness, was there. The Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service -- all the new-wave San Francisco bands -- had agreed to appear with Srila Prabhupada at the Avalon Ballroom's Mantra-Rock Dance, proceeds from which would go to the local Hare Krsna temple.

"Thousands of hippies, anticipating an exciting evening, packed the hall. LSD pioneer Timothy Leary dutifully paid the standard $2.50 admission fee and entered the ballroom, followed by Augustus Owsley Stanley II, known for his own brand of LSD.

"At about 10 p.m., Srila Prabhupada and a small entourage of devotees arrived amid uprorious applause and cheering by a crowd that had waited weeks in great anticipation for this moment. Srila Prabhupada was given a seat of honor onstage and was introduced by Allen Ginsberg, who explained his own realizations about the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and how it had spread from the small storefront in New York to San Francisco.

Allen Ginsberg later recalled, "We sang Hare Krsna all evening. It was absolutely great -- an open thing. It was the height of the Haight-Ashbury spiritual enthusiasm."

[Chant and Be Happy, Chapter 2, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1982]

PS to midnight sun - in this same section of Jan 1967 letters I just found posted online, films and tapes (of the event?) are mentioned...

This post was modified by cream-puff-war on 2006-11-10 22:31:26

Attachment: krishna_meets_Grateful_Dead

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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 10, 2006 2:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review of January 29, 1967 GD Benefit

" I was acquainted with Sam Andrews of the band Big Brother and the Holding Company; Shyamasundar knew Chet Helms, proprietor of the Avalon Ballroom, who agreed to donate his hall for one night. Shyamasundar also knew Rock Scully, manager of the Grateful Dead, whom Yamuna and I knew because they lived across from us on Ashbury Street. Chet arranged interviews and, in addition to the Dead and Big Brother, we were able to persuade Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Moby Grape to perform free as a benefit to support the Radha Krishna Temple. Allen Ginsberg had agreed to fly out from New York to perform onstage and introduce the Swami to the people of San Francisco.

The evening of the Mantra Rock Dance, January 29, I walked into the empty ballroom and yelled, "Hare Krishna!" The transcendental sound echoed off the walls. The rest of the devotees came over to the hall early to take tickets, cut oranges, and decorate the stage with flowers, cloth hangings, and paintings and posters of Lord Krishna. I saw the empty concert hall gradually fill up with life -- soon it was bustling with sounds, smells, lights, and joy. Of course, Lord Chaitanya was there too, as were all the demigods, who relish attending functions such as this. It felt as if they were throwing rose-petal benedictions upon the place. We had brought all our instruments: karatalas, flutes, trumpets, and a huge timpani drum. We checked the sound and greeted early arrivals. The Swami was to arrive later.

First Moby Grape played, as strobes and colored lights danced. Then the house lights were turned on and various celebrities began to fill the stage. Allen Ginsberg, wearing a long, white robe, climbed up the madras-covered steps and settled onto the stage. Peter Orlovsky sat down too. Tim Leary came in, smiled, and sat cross-legged. Swami Kriyananda, a disciple of Paramahamsa Yogananda, came in with a vina. He seemed comfortable and happy to be there. Then a short man in a silk top hat and sash which read SAN FRANCISCO, who claimed to be the Mayor, came onto the stage. Some Hell's Angels stood in the back of the stage near a large painting of Radha and Krishna. They were our security guards, and no one was going to mess with them.

Yamuna and I were cutting up oranges for prasadam distribution. My friend Easy drifted by, greeted us, and danced away. Allen Ginsberg took the microphone and introduced chanting of the maha-mantra to the congregation. "This mantra can deliver us all," he said. "Just sink into the sound vibration and think of peace." Accompanied by a small harmonium, he then began chanting: "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."

I jumped up and started chanting and dancing, and gradually, as everyone joined in, the whole hall felt like it was traveling on an intergalactic journey. In our transcendental spaceship, the Avalon Ballroom, we were separate but safe in the universe. The sound swayed around us, sheltering us in its transcendence.

Then Swami Bhaktivedanta entered. He looked like a Vedic sage, exalted and otherworldly. As he advanced towards the stage, the crowd parted and made way for him, like the surfer riding a wave. He glided onto the stage, sat down, and began playing the karatalas. Again the sound vibration entered my heart, and I felt warmed. Others listened, then started softly singing in unison and weaving in dance. The hall filled with the Holy Names. Swamiji beamed down on the crowd. Everyone was cheering, bowing, clapping, swooning, jumping, chanting, and in a general state of bliss. Finally the chanting ended in a wild crescendo. The Swami then rose slowly, and with hands and palms folded in pranams, he walked down from the stage. Again the throng parted and -- respectfully, ecstatically -- let him through, some bowing and some even taking the dust from his feet.

Jefferson Airplane came on stage next, and Grace Slick sang "Do You Want Somebody to Love?" The large faceted glass ball sprayed blips of light to every part of this separate world. It seemed like stars were cascading around in our miniature planetarium. Big Brother and the Holding Company took the stage. Janis Joplin, with her mouth on the microphone, belted out "Ball and Chain." It looked like she was eating the microphone. Sam Andrews played his classic riff to begin "Summertime." Janis whooped and yelled, and the bands all yelled out Hare Krishna at one time or another. Between sets by the famous bands, people were holding onto each other and chanting in a large circle. Everyone was in harmony. We danced into the night, and this amalgamation of mantra and rock worked extraordinarily well."

- Gurudas

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Nov 11, 2006 7:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review of January 29, 1967 GD Benefit

"Chanting became known as a nice way to come down from an acid trip"

"Some Hell's Angels stood in the back of the stage near a large painting of Radha and Krishna. They were our security guards, and no one was going to mess with them."

good research cream-puff-war!

this could very well be a significant GD experience (???)

i wonder if the way to go about it would be to approach the San Fransisco Krishna chapter in person with an inquiry and an offer to help search their vaults?

easier said than done i know...would make a stab at it myself if i wasn't many thousands of miles away, i think i will try an e-mail inquiry...any ideas where to send to?

just a thought...hope you hear back from their outlets...keep us posted

This post was modified by midnight sun on 2006-11-12 03:35:27

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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 12, 2006 6:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review of January 29, 1967 GD Benefit

thanks midnight sun.

This gig I suspect, is more historic than generally acknowledged, perhaps because it followed the Human Be-In by a week, and featured the top Sf bands including Quicksilver Messenger Service and Jefferson Airplane - not on the poster.

Arranged by Allen Ginsburg, and Tim Leary (and Owsley) attended - yes, and the Hells Angels!!

At the time, HDG Swami Bhaktivedanta was seen as a pretty far out guru by the Haight-Ashbury community.

The Hare Krishnas taped everything, it's hard to believe they didn't tape some of this event- and they're not as uptight now I think about their rock and roll past connections.

As I say, they've released conversations with John Lennon, Yoko and George Harrison (online somewhere for free)...

and they offer a Cd of George Harrison music and interviews taped in recent years.

Where to search? All I know is, the ISKCON movement has splintered into several groups, Los Angeles used to be the center of the tape and music outlets for home use...

I mean, we may have to try more than one location. I live in SF, if you can start the ball rolling, I'll gladly go in person if that's needed.

Let's really try this - I love early Dead!!

This post was modified by cream-puff-war on 2006-11-13 02:19:14

Attachment: 01-29-1967.jpg

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Nov 13, 2006 11:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review of January 29, 1967 GD Benefit

i'll give it a couple of tries...maybe Los Angeles (?) i notice that San Fransisco doesn't have a Krishna listing...maybe a different splinter (?)

tapes could also be back in India (?)

i'll let you know if i get a hit

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Poster: high flow Date: Nov 14, 2006 12:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review of January 29, 1967 GD Benefit

Wow. I don't know how you guys got started on this topic, but it has been educational. Thanks for researching this.

For those who have not, follow this thread back to it's beginning. Some very descriptive reviews of an event that sounds so unusual and unique.

Just reading the accounts of that night is a trip in itself. I've truly enjoyed the progress and will follow in the coming days....good luck. Nice Job.

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Nov 14, 2006 10:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review of January 29, 1967 GD Benefit

it started with cream-puff-war recalling what his dad used to say;

"that all the Grateful Dead music sounded the same. He also said all the Hare Krishna’s looked alike!"

you were there high flow!

Eventually led to the gut splitting "Swami and the Chipmunks" revelations...

this research is definitely stemming from cream-puff-war's inspiration...hell, this isn't even my era per se...i just can't help but be extremely curious (and that is a total understatement) of the effect the Avalon Ballroom full of chanters might of had on the Dead, esp this era

thanks for the interest high flow, you and others feel free to join us on the hunt

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Poster: cream-puff-war Date: Nov 15, 2006 6:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review of January 29, 1967 GD Benefit

Let's get it going... maybe email Gurudas - he seemed to have a lot of specific memories of this event!

Attachment: 01-29-1967.jpg